Fotolia

25 New Moms Describe What It Really Feels Like To Meet Your Baby For The First Time

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Pop culture has painted a very particular picture of birth and the moment you meet your baby. Exhausted, sweaty, yet somehow glowing and perfectly groomed (even her hair looks artfully bedraggled), the new mother reaches for her infant (usually played by, like, a five month old) and beams pure love. I'm not going to say that's inaccurate (minus the whole looking awesome and delivering a five month old thing), but the fact that this is the only reaction a new mom has. What it really feels like to meet your baby for the first time can, and usually is, a far cry from the cinematic depictions we're used to.

After the birth of my first, I was elated. He cried a righteously pissed off cry (story of his five year life in seven words, by the way) and then was quiet for about a day, just taking it all in. And, very shortly thereafter, in addition to the overwhelming love I felt, another feeling that became almost as powerful crept in. A feeling of "Well, OK. Now what?" A feeling of being legitimately confused by how mundane and not life-changing everything felt. Then again, maybe it was all so life-changing that if I felt it all at once I would have freaked out and my brain was shielding me from too much all at once. I remember it was similar to when I got married, if I'm being honest. The simultaneous swell of, "This is everything" and the bewilderment of, "This is it?!"

I asked other moms to share their first reactions to their babies and, as predicted, there's so much more than we see in a television set's delivery room.

Ad failed to load

Elise

giphy

"Honestly, mine was, 'Oh. He's not very cute....' Luckily, once his face un-smooshed in a few days, I changed my mind."

Victoria

"With almost 2 years of going through infertility and in vitro, I couldn't believe I had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl. I remember crying, and in that first glance the 2 year struggle didn't seem so long anymore."

Kelli

Ad failed to load

Tracy

Photo courtesy of Tracy Helmer

"Jesus Christ he looks like my Dad."

"Persephone"

"I get jealous of other moms' experiences. Honestly, I was terrified and overwhelmed and not happy. I remember my first thought being that I had made a mistake. This changed quickly, but it still gets me upset that this was my first reaction to my first baby."

"Rowena"

Ad failed to load

Christy

giphy

"'Oh it's you!' And then oddly missing him being in my belly even though he was right there."

Candy

"I literally screamed, 'He has red hair!' We had joked that he would be a red head the whole time."

Kathy

Ad failed to load

Kim

giphy

"My first words were, 'Oh my god he has so much hair.'"

Shannon

"The first thing I noticed was her vagina. We did not find out the sex, and as she was born I noticed she was a girl before the doctor could even announce it. I was so surprised, I had thought boy all along. My heart burst that I had a daughter."

Chrissy

Ad failed to load

Nutan

giphy

"When [my son] was born, I thought I was going to actually explode with love. He was the absolute cutest baby I'd ever, ever seen."

Michelle

"When my daughter was put into my arms the first thing I remember feeling was confused. After the months of pregnancy, the hours of labor, and the eternity of pushing, all of a sudden there was this tiny creature on my chest. I was completely dazed."

Cate

Ad failed to load

Jenn

giphy

"It's such a cliche, but I loved him the moment I saw him. We'd already 'known' each other for months; he was my little buddy that tagged along with me everywhere. But when I saw his face, I thought, 'It's so great to meet you. I will love you forever." And I have, even when he's an a**hole (moms of kids under three, sorry to break it to you, but that's coming)."

Liz

"The first time were sure it was going to be a boy, and the doctor said, 'Congratulations, it's a girl!' Both my husband and I said, 'WHAT?!?' And then I remember being surprised about how warm this weird beautiful slimy purple blob in my chest was. The second time, we were convinced it was another girl. The (same) doctor said, 'Congratulations, it's a boy!' And my husband and I said, 'WHAT?!?' As they whisked him away to check him (he was born at 35 weeks). I yelled at the doctor and said, 'Give me my baby! I need to see him before you take him away!' They obliged for about 10 seconds, during which time I remember thinking, 'Huh, he's warm and slimy, just like his sister.' And we cried because we were so relieved and scared all at the same time."

Jillian

Ad failed to load

Char

giphy

"With my first, as they laid him on my chest after pushing for what felt like forever, I remember thinking, 'How did I just do that? You came OUT OF ME??' And then I was in awe/love."

Susan

"I never felt the maternal instincts kick in during pregnancy. I had a miscarriage around 11 weeks just a few months before conceiving my oldest and a lot of that emotion was still pretty raw. My pregnancies were all very rough and difficult so I never got to enjoy them. So leading up to the day I gave birth I was anxious about whether I would love this baby, if I'd be a good mother — I'm pretty sure I had at least one panic attack over this. But when he arrived, and with all the commentary about his size (hearing 'He's huge!' from all directions while I'm strapped down during a c-section), when I finally saw him I laughed. Then I held him and everything was calm and simple. I never felt more relaxed."

"Anaïs"

Ad failed to load

Jodi

giphy

"My first reaction was, 'Oh she's not a monkey baby!!' I had been so afraid that she would be born covered in dark hair ... But she was fair and appropriately fuzzy. But more importantly, I didn't feel that instant bond, that 'love at first sight' feeling. And even though I was warned that I might not, it was still unsettling to me. She was this...thing. I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that she was mine. It was over 24 hours before I realized, as I sat in my hospital bed at midnight with her swaddled beside me, alone, that I hadn't freely cuddled and kissed her yet. Everything I'd done with her to that point was perfunctory. Hold her, show her to people, change her diaper, learn to nurse her, learn to swaddle her, hand her to a nurse, give her a pacifier, pose for pictures... So in the glow of the TV in my dark room, I picked up the tiny package that was her, sniffed her head, kissed her nose, and suddenly I didn't want to put her down. Ever. And even so, it took me a little longer to really see her as MINE, my child. She was still sort of a 'thing,' that I had no idea what to do with. It took about 2 weeks or so for me to feel like I was 'supposed to' towards her."

Chrissy C.

"We were expecting [our son] to be less than 4 pounds. When he was born emergency c-section 3 weeks early, when I first saw him, I was blown away at how big he looked and could not believe he came out of me. He was only 5 pounds 5 ounces, but was puffy and swollen. Wasn't expecting that. He also sounded like a duck when he was crying. I was crying when I heard him crying. It was such a relief knowing my baby was born crying. Since having late loss/stillborn, two years earlier, I can not begin to explain the overwhelming feeling of relief and happiness hearing my baby cry for the very first time."

Jane

Ad failed to load

Marcie

giphy

"I had a really long hard pregnancy (lots of medical complications) and then my labor was painfully natural (the anesthesiologist refused to do an epidural on me because of a past surgery — but before they made that decision there was lots of poking, testing, etc). When my daughter finally came, I was so exhausted and in so much pain that I kind of wanted a few moments to myself. I think it's a huge disservice to women everywhere that there's one 'right' way to feel about your baby — that it always has to be love at first sight and that everything else goes away.

I think it's important that women understand that there are lots of different emotions that you feel and that it's OK. I got to know my daughter over the next few hours, days, weeks, months, years and am still getting to know her. I obviously, without question, love her completely. But what you feel when you meet your baby for the first time is a factor of so many things — your personality, your partner's personality, your pregnancy experience, your delivery experience, and even your expectations. I've never heard another woman say anything other than 'It was love at first time' or something along those lines and I've always felt a little shamed by my initial 'I need a few minutes for myself' reaction. I'm sure I can't be the only one who's felt that way but I guess it might be another one of those 'mom guilt' things that we just never say because it makes us feel like horrible people."

[Writer's note: Well Marcie, and all the other Marcies out there, whose story bucks cultural expectation, as you can see from the many reactions here you are certainly not alone. There's absolutely not one way to feel about bringing a baby into the world. So share your stories, because more people than you realize may see themselves in it!]

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack